Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Summer Minimalism Challenge Part 2- Clothes
When we began the Summer Minimalism Challenge we were seeking more peace and less chaos. Our home was loud, chaotic and drowning in clutter, clutter, and more clutter. For the love of blocks, how many sets do we really need? We spent our days organizing and re-organizing. Quiet time with Jesus? Didn’t have it. Quality time with the kids? Not really.
We were looking for a relationship with God that consumed our lives rather than an item on our to-do list to be checked off. Tackling the toys was the first part of our challenge. We let the kids pick their favorites and everything else went to the garage. (I couldn’t quite bring myself to donating the toys yet. But, eventually, some will be donated.) The next month, we cleared the closets. Because, really, how many outfits does one need?
We started the month by dumping every single piece of clothing we owned on our beds and carefully sorting the items we actually wear. It’s amazing how many pieces of clothing were barely touched throughout the years. When was the last time I wore this? Did I wear it AT ALL this year?
Once we had a pile of clothes to keep, we pared down even more. We ended up with roughly ten outfits each and donated the rest. Bye-Bye overstuffed closet.
The Day to Day
Living with less clothes was easier than we thought. We didn’t have to put much time into thinking about what we were going to wear. Dwelling on what we looked like became less important and focusing on meaningful things became more important. We prayed for those who live without the luxury of extra clothes and we learned about third-world countries and the effects of poverty. Shopping didn’t happen. No window shopping or browsing around for things we didn’t need. We also did less laundry (Hooray! Does anybody really enjoy laundry?)
The Big Picture
Money is a powerful thing in our lives. If we only desire to use our money to purchase fashionable clothes, the latest car model, or the newest gadgets, our lives will go down hill fast. Saying goodbye to the possessions and greed in our lives is essential to our faith.
Did you know that over 2,000 bible verses deal with money and possessions?! There are more verses on money than on prayer, heaven, hell, or even love. Eight out of ten verses in the Gospels talk about money and sixteen of the thirty-eight parables revolve around possessions or money.
And, yet, so many of us do not connect or faith with our money. (Or, perhaps, we just don’t want to?)
Martin Luther once said, “There are three conversions necessary to every man: conversion of the head, conversion of the heart, and conversion of the purse.”
Jesus Knew A Thing or Two When He Told Us To Live with Less
When we live a life of possessions, it is easy for us to rely on those things when times get tough. We fool ourselves into believing that we don’t need Jesus. We can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps because we have extra clothes and extra money. The thing is, when we don’t have those things, we can’t do anything else than lean on Jesus. And when we do, amazing things happen. We see the glory of God at work. And guess what, Jesus wants us to see him!
God’s arms are stretched out offering his gift of grace and unwavering love. The thing is, our possessions are in the way. We don’t even see his offer because our things are cluttering our view. When we clear away that clutter, we see God.
How Our Toy Situation Made Us See Our Relationship with Jesus In A New Way
We learned this lesson when we removed our toys last month. During this challenge, we had moments of failure. When our one-year-old was getting into everything without his toys around, we gave up and grabbed some of his toys from the garage. Our first thought and action when things got hard was to seek comfort from our possessions. What did we own that could solve our problem? We should have turned to Jesus. Isn’t that what this whole challenge is about? Why didn’t we pray when things got hard? Why did we try to solve it on our own?
Over the last month with less clothes and toys, we had both failures and successes. Toys and extra clutter have made their way into the house. We easily fell into our old ways of relying on our possessions. But, at the same time, we have become conscious of our goals and really worked hard to put Jesus first. When we received new clothes as gifts, we removed other clothes to make room. We were conscious not to let our possessions fog our view of Jesus.
Conclusion and Next Month’s Challenge
It is okay to wear clothes we like and to own possessions. Cute clothes are not a sin. But we shouldn’t take these things lightly. Jesus knows the hold money and possessions have on us. That is why he talked about it more than other topics. It is easy for us to fall trap to its way. Money will tempt us. Our possessions will take us further from God’s truth. It is crucial that we remember and contemplate God’s Word.
Next month, we will move into the kitchen. We will be removing unnecessary items that clutter our kitchen area (Tupperware, anyone?) In addition to physical possessions, we will be focusing on our grocery budget. Our goal is to be good stewards of our finances and only buy the necessities.
Are you ready to clear the clutter and discover God’s work in your life?
We encourage you to take the challenge alongside us!
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